I Live in a Pick-Up Truck

This was a nine month journey of self discovery. I left Portland in May 2009 and returned in February 2010. I used this travel as a tool to regain self-confidence and a good perspective on the world. It worked.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

an endless series of miraculous surprises

anyway, (you had to know that i couldnt just leave it at that. i had hoped that the open comma would be a dead giveaway...) life is different and wonderful, i bask in the changes and appreciate all of the moments. oftentimes i feel sad for the things that i have forgotten, the people that once played large roles in my life that are now tertiary or non-existent. while i was writing the previous "ending" for this blog, i was overcome with emotion and instead of just dealing with it and using the feelings as an aid to writing, i wrapped it up and called it a life.

hopefully i can work with whatever feelings arise this time. 275 days of life really isnt a long time at all, but as a person lives each and every one of those days it becomes important. when i left on this journey the problem with my life was that i gave up on living it. i had simply found a daily routine and subscribed to it. the thought of living was taken out of my life and auto-pilot took over. i lost interest in being a real person and the scariest thing about it all is that i didnt even know it. or, if i did, i was doing a wonderful job of convincing myself otherwise.

i take full responsibility for what my life had become by may of 2009. although there were a few other people that could have helped me out of it or worked with me to prevent it, ultimately it is my life and i am the only one that can make the choices that lead to happiness and i was ready to settle. when i was in santa cruz (the second time) the weather was beautiful, and in the mornings i would take long walks throughout the city. one morning i walked over the river and saw a guy just sleeping by the edge of the river it looked like a nice place to be except it was in full sun. hours later i walked back over the same place and saw that the guy (person?) had barely moved. he was up and just shifted into the shade of a nearby bush.

and i thought about the validity of living. these thoughts that i am about to lay down are not meant as judgments of other people, just the way that i think about life for myself. and i really dont see much of a point to life if existence consists of simply shifting from the sun to the shade, that seems like a horrible life to me. it doesnt seem like one that is worth living, but it is hard for a person to recognize that is what they are doing. a life where you just go to work and come home is pretty similar from just shifting from the sun to the shade. and that was the life that i was ready to just accept.

it amazes me now, looking back, that i didnt recognize this in myself. it took another person (whom i thank very much) to point out to me that life doesnt need to be this way and that i, of all people, should know this. that i had had adventures in the past and people tend to like me wherever i go no matter how i treat them, that the whole world was open to me if i just had a bit more gumption and the willingness to take a chance.

this trip, this 275 days of life, was the chance i took. and it was a great one. i lost some pretty significant things from the life i had been living before and i will question whether or not this was the right decision for a little bit, but the facts exist. i took the chance, and that chance resulted in some safe things breaking and never being able to be put back together. but it also reminded me that life is amazing and there are so many miraculous things that are happening, you have to do little more than pay attention to be a part of it.

just sitting and watching the sunset or the moonrise is an awesome and amazing things, the art of life, it happens everyday and it is taken for granted. it is forgotten, and it really shouldnt be. i cant promise, not even myself, that i wont forget about the moon again one day but i know that it exists now and that is a great consolation. life is a work in progress and something that you have to remember to live everyday.

it is a strange thing, as i look for jobs and apartments to live in, worrying about the things common things that didnt exist to me for the last nine months. i am scared about getting a job and working everyday just like i was scared so often to knock on someones door or dial a dumb phone number. and i think this apprehension is good, it gives me a moment to reflect on whether or not this is really what i want out of life. i am pretty sure i could live off of much less money than i spent on this previous trip, that i could just keep going, but i like it here. and i think there exists a happy balance between working for money and living for love.

its true that i dont have the most positive self-image, you may not ever know it but i get down on myself a whole bunch. i am often scared of people and convince myself that i have little to offer, i am pretty good at convincing myself of these things, it has been going on for thirty years or so. however deep-seated this inner pessimism is, i always have to remember that pessimism is just a passing emotion and not a philosophy by which i can live life.

so, i have to keep taking chances. i have to keep failing and succeeding, i have to not let life beat me. i want to keep growing, keep learning new things, and never succumb to the demons of life again. i dont want to forget how awesome everyday is, the gifts that are constantly offered if i just keep my eyes open long enough to see them.

i dont know how much of a different person i am from when i left. i certainly feel different, i am not sure i have a different perspective on life, but i am refueled with hope. when i was twenty years old i got this tattoo on my arm that says "still hoping.." although i have gone through waves i think that the hope still exists in me. i want to be more receptive to other people, i have my own personality and it is distinct, but i also know that it oftentimes alienates the people closest to me and i want to change that. i think that i can.

this is supposed to be a mini-retrospective of my trip and i wanted to talk about some of the good and bad things from it. but, really it was all good. the best was the people that i met or reconnected with. the initial focus of the trip was on places and not on people, but that changed between los angeles and san diego. when i got back in touch with my old friend tiffany and then my old high school friend ricky, i came to realize that i needed to have these people reflect who i am so that i can see it and be happy about my self and about life again. (maybe i never saw it in those words, because i just put them together, but i think they work good.) there are a number of other people that have turned this journey into a wonderful life experience, not all of it "good" but certainly all of it was full of wonder. i do hope many of these people remain part of my life moving forward.

i regained (or just plain gained) a level of self-confidence that i hadnt really known in myself since 2006 or so. now i just need to keep it up. i am not entirely sure how to do that, but i guess i will figure something out. ending this blog is ending a chapter in my life. when i left i named this chapter "my magnificent travel of the summer of 2009" we can all see how this title no longer adequately reflects what actually transpired. and so, i have chosen "an endless series of miraculous surprises" as the new title to this chapter in my life. if i had been keeping this in a mead journal these words would be prominently etched across the front. if i could still update the website that contains my life from 1997-2003 those words would be the link that goes to it. even though the title is a misnomer (clearly this is an ending) i still think it is good.

and now as i attempt to "get on with life" i will need to process these last 275 days in some way and the way that i have chosen is to write some stories about the experiences. i am not very good at writing stories, at ending things, or saying goodbye. so dont expect anything very quickly. as i wrote that i reckoned back to a time on this trip when i wanted to get a new tattoo (which is not something that i have wanted for many years) that said "no expectations no explanations" and i am glad that i didnt. because this is a pretty long explanation right now. and, although i am loathe to admit it, i do have some expectations for the future.

i think this is a better ending than the one i wrote last night. thank you to all the people that have made my life the wonder that it is, i really appreciate it.